As winter deepens and frigid temperatures grip Russia’s Far East, floating ice (sea ice) begins to coat the Sea of Okhotsk. Sakhalin Island, Russia’s largest Island, is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Tartary and, in the east and north, boundaries the Sea of Okhotsk. Although it lies at a latitude similar to England, Wales, and Ireland, Sakhalin is typically hemmed in by sea ice each winter—except for Aniva Bay, at the southernmost tip, which rarely sees substantial ice. The Sea of Okhotsk, as well as Sakhalin Island, stretches southward to 45 degrees North latitude, making it the lowest latitude for seasonal sea ice formation in the world.
On January 10, 2020, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of sea ice surrounding southern Sakhalin Island. The waters of Aniva Bay remain ice-free.